WashCo Dems Call to Action: Driver License Hearing

Summary:

Help pass one of our county party Legislative Action Items through the Oregon State Legislature, which is making driver’s licenses available to *everyone*.  House Bill 2015, will make sure that every Oregonian – regardless of status – will be able to apply for a state driver’s license.  Attend a public hearing on April 17th.

Background:

Prior to 2008, the Oregon DMV required three things to issue an Oregon Driver License: proof of identity, proof of Oregon residency, and proof of driving skills. In 2008, the Oregon Legislature and then-Governor Ted Kulongoski made an effort to comply with the brand-new federal Real ID program by placing new requirements on applicants for an Oregon Driver License (ODL). These new requirements required applicants for an ODL to produce documents that indicated their legal presence in Oregon, in addition to identity, residency and skills.

In 2017, the Oregon Legislature passed the Real ID act, which created two options for getting an Oregon Driver License:

  1. The Standard Class-C Driver License that is currently issued; or
  2. A Real-ID License, which will allow Oregonians to board airplanes and enter federal buildings without additional accepted documentation of legal presence, such as a passport.

HB 2015 would expand eligibility for a standard (Class C) driver license to all Oregon residents regardless of citizenship status by returning the regular Class-C Oregon Driver License to a pre-2008 set of application requirements.

The proposed bill:

  • Allows all Oregon residents who pass written and driving tests, pay the fees, and provides proof of identity and residency to receive a standard driver license, regardless of citizenship status.
  • Provides protection to ensure a person’s information is secured and not shared with the federal government.
  • Provides anti-discrimination language to ensure a person isn’t targeted for having a Class C license.
  • Will have an implementation timeline beginning on January 1, 2021 to ensure success.

Between 80,000-100,000 Oregon residents could benefit from driver license expansion. The new requirements for Real ID will create barriers for many. The most impacted communities include Oregon’s undocumented population, seniors, homeless/houseless folks, domestic violence victims, and other Oregonians who have difficulty accessing their birth certificate and other paperwork necessary to prove their citizenship status.

Facts:

  • Currently, 13 states, including California and Washington, issue licenses to drive to all drivers who meet the legal, safety, insurance, identification, and residency requirements to obtain a license, regardless of immigration or citizenship status. Oregon has proven models to work from.
  • Multiple university and government studies have shown that in states with policies like the one Oregon is proposing, traffic accidents and hit-and-run incidents have decreased by as much as 10% to 30% and the number of insured driver rates have increased significantly, making roads safer and saving millions in
    out-of-pocket expenses for drivers who are not at fault.
  • Since 2016, deportations due to traffic violations have increased by 138%.

Take action!

What:

  • Attend a Public Hearing:
    • There is a public hearing with the Joint Transportation Committee scheduled for Wednesday, 4/17 from 4:30pm – 7:00pm. Please sign up and come show support. If you know of anyone in your network (especially those in rural Oregon) who has a particularly strong story and would like to share their testimony, please connect with Cristina Marquez at cristinam@causaoregon.org
    • Sign up for our Public Hearing and ask your supporters to do the same.
      https://secure.everyaction.com/OxU5qvmt5Uup14BxhVOuRA2
  • Contact your elected leaders!

When:

  • As soon as possible (the hearing is on April 17th)

Not sure what to say?

Insured, licensed drivers keep our roads safe and neighbors safe, let’s do what other states already do and ensure our drivers have licenses.